Thursday, October 11, 2012

Homogenized and Pasteurized, or Free Range

Think back to your junior high years.
Remember middle aged women? (Don’t count your mom, your aunts or teachers.)
Could you tell them apart?
I could–just barely.
Some were grayer, some were thinner, a few didn’t wear glasses, fewer were not married.
But they all had short hair, were very very good, and incredibly dull.
One was pretty much like another, and although societally they were middle aged,
I labelled them as old, and, other than loved ones, insignificant.

Middle aged meant boring and stuffy and upright and homogenized and pasteurized.

I am well into, societally speaking, middle age.
But it is so much more vibrant and colorful than decades ago, isn’t it?
My mature sisters and I are so youngish.
We have distinctive hair styles and fabulous senses of humor.
I imagine that we make middle age look delightful–almost enviable.
How could youth of today not want to know women of my age?
We are significant! We were raised by women who were raised by women who lived through the Roaring 20’s!
And (as we repeat to ourselves often) 50 is the new 40. We were cool in school, cool young moms/working women, and that coolness is showing no sign of turning tepid in these, our raspberry filling years.

We are the Free Range Middle Aged. Free to be you and me. Special. Epic!
No limits on us chicks; we scoff at boundaries and flap over fences.
We are individualistic and vibrant and strong and on Facebook. So cool that we can joke about gray hairs and skin damage from baking in the sun with only a slathering of baby oil between us and the UV rays. Even when we wake up stiff as Robot from Lost in Space, aging can’t affect the Real Us. Uncaged, wild-at-heart women who were weaned on the Monkees and Led Zeppelin and miniskirts and hot pants are still truly young. Aging effects are just a little masquerade we play.

I assure myself of the above when I’m out with my friends and we’re giggling and being super cool about our wrinkles and fiber tablets and raspy joints. And then I see a group of teens glance at us, and for a second we are reflected in their eyes: a bunch of cackling, indistinguishable hens.

I shrug, hike up my jowls, and tell another joke. Just-out-of-the-egg youngsters can’t be expected to discern the choicest of Free Range Chicks.


Lori Lipsky said...

BRILLIANT. You've made my day.

I plan to repeat to myself over and over 50 is the new 40, 50 is the new 40, 50 is the new 40, 50 is the new 40...I didn't know this, but I'm so happy to hear it. Now if I could just feel it!

Thanks, Prude.

Sue Vick Finley said...

So fantastic. "hike up my jowls"...that is the one for me! So funny, so perfect.